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Headteacher's News 25.2.22

All the most recent news from Edith

Friday 25th February 2022

Dear parents and carers of Stepney Park Primary School,

I hope you all had a good and restful half term holiday, welcome back!

New Covid-19 changes and the government’s ‘Living with Covid’ advice

The ending of Covid restrictions started on Thursday Feb 24th, and it is now no longer a legal duty to self-isolate if someone tests positive for Covid-19. From this point Covid-19 will begin to be treated like other infectious diseases.

Whilst the legal duty to self-isolate ends, the government advice still remains that pupils who test positive should stay at home and avoid contact with other people for at least five days. We strongly encourage all of our staff and pupils to follow this advice and value your support as parents to ensure this is the case. As throughout the pandemic, we really appreciate your support to ensure that new arrangements are followed.

Bagel Station

We are in the process of setting up ‘Morning Bagel Stations’ at all school entrances. Children who come to school in the morning and who are still feeling a bit ‘peckish’ can help themselves to a lovely free bagel. Thank you to Magic Breakfast, who have helped us with setting this up

World Book Day

On Thursday March 3rd we will celebrate World Book Day. Please enable your child to come into school dressed up, and donate £1 to charity. Classes will be visited by a storyteller, and we will have lots of fun book related activities on this day

Medical Conditions

Please remember to inform us of any medical conditions, in particular if they require special supervision or medication. We may arrange for you to attend an appointment with the school nurse when appropriate. 

We understand that children sometimes need to attend urgent medical appointments during the day, but trust that parents will do everything they can to ensure that children do not miss any learning at school, unless this is absolutely essential. We would like to remind parents that almost all medical appointments that are arranged after school, if possible. 


We know that our Muslim families will be preparing for the month of Ramadan, which will start around April 1st. We wish to support our older pupils who are planning to fast during this time, and we have taken advice from various community partners so that we can provide appropriate health and wellbeing support and guidance for our pupils.  As you know, most schools of Shari’ah (Islamic law, based on the Qur’an and the practice of the Prophet) state that fasting during Ramadan is only obligatory from the age of puberty. Therefore, we are happy to support our Muslim pupils in Years 5 and 6 should they decide to fast. We understand that Muslim children will wish to emulate their elders from an early age, and that some younger Muslim children will often fast for one, two or more days. However, due to health and safety reasons we are asking parents with younger pupils to not allow them to fast on school days as it is not obligatory and potentially not safe.

We also understand that a competitive spirit may develop between children in that they will compare the number of days on which they have fasted. Please talk to your child about the need to be sensitive about discussing this in school, so that no child feels any undue pressure if they or their families do not yet feel ready.

If your child is in Year 5 or 6 and has reached puberty and if you and your child feel that it is appropriate for them to fast on school days during Ramadan please write to or email us before the start of Ramadan, as we need to be aware of which children may be fasting. Children in Yr 5 and 6 who fast will be monitored during their time at school and parents will be called if their child shows signs of being unwell due to fasting. If parents/carers cannot be contacted, we will sensitively support your child to break their fast. 

Parent/ teacher meetings

Please remember to make an appointment to see your child’s teacher on either March 15th or March 17th after school. We would like to encourage parents to arrange a Face to Face appointment. 

Website updates 

I will share a little segment of our updated and lovely website in this part of my letter each time. This week's focus is Personal Development - Mental Health and Well being:

Mental Health & Wellbeing

At Stepney Park Primary School, we recognise the importance of good mental health. Children who are worried, anxious or stressed do not learn while those that are happy, secure and confident thrive. As a school, we believe we have a dual role in supporting children's mental health and wellbeing:

  • To create a protective environment which acts to prevent everyday stresses becoming serious problems.

  • To have a robust system of identification and referral to intervene when mental health difficulties are disrupting progress and the healthy development of individual children.

To coordinate this provision, we have identified a Designated Mental Health Lead. This member of staff has a strategic overview of our mental health provision, attends relevant training and supports staff to meet the mental health needs of our children through universal support and referrals.Importantly, our approach is not limited to supporting children experiencing crisis. Instead, we take a graduated approach, starting with universal provision which aims to equip all children with the tools to support their own mental wellbeing. We also have school staff who are trained to give early support to children experiencing difficulties and we access a range of services to support children whose needs are more severe and require trained external support.Our universal approaches to supporting children in maintaining good mental health and wellbeing include:

  • Working hard to ensure that children create secure and meaningful relationships with adults in school. These relationships enable adults to notice when children may be struggling and ensure that children know who to talk to if they have worries or problems.

  • Through PSHE, assemblies, special days and discussion times, we teach children about a wide range of things that they can do to stay mentally healthy. We recognise that there is a strong link between good physical and mental health, and we help children to become aware of this. 

  • Recognising that children will feel happier when they feel included and taking steps to ensure that all children feel welcome. For example, we teach about and celebrate a range of different cultural and religious festivals. We actively promote the celebration of differences and encourage children to speak out if they witness or have been a victim of discrimination.

  • Providing ‘safe spaces’ for children to retreat to in the playground and in class. Our playground buddies also help children who are feeling lost or sad in the playground.

  • Offering an open 'Chill Zone' to all children. This is supported by members of staff with experience in pastoral support and children can access a range of books with a wide variety of topics or can chat.

  • Using restorative approaches where appropriate. When difficulties arise between children, staff use restorative approaches to support children in finding solutions and recovering from disagreements. This is central to our behaviour policy.

  • Stepney Park is a Rights Respecting school. This means all children are made aware of their rights and how to respect the rights of others. We believe that this empowers children and supports their wellbeing.

We also recognise that certain events in our children’s lives can affect their mental health and wellbeing and that this may result in them needing some extra support. We use a range of different strategies, including screening tools, to support children when there are indicators that their mental health is suffering In these circumstances, our targeted approaches include:

Casual Admissions: Moving schools is a significant event in a child’s life. We have clear procedures to ensure that their move is as successful as possible and that they are welcomed and integrated into our community as quickly as possible.

Transition support: Even children who stay in the same school for their entire Primary education will experience a number of transitions and we recognise how important these are. Every year we work hard to ensure that children are prepared for the move into their new class so that they can return to Stepney Park in September happy and ready to learn.

Yoga:  We have a yoga practitioner who works with small groups of children across the school. The focus for each group is agreed with the SENCo and could include confidence building, understanding how bodies react to emotions, physical health or friendship building.

Learning Mentor: We have a learning mentor who supports children who have been identified as struggling with their behaviours for learning. This work can be 1:1 or small group and is bespoke for each child.

Emotional Literacy Support Assistants ( ELSA): These members of staff have completed an extensive training programme with the Education Psychology service in Tower Hamlets and work with children 1:1 or in small groups. Their work is always bespoke to the needs of the child or children they are working with.Accordion content.

Play therapy: We have a trained play therapist who works in school for one day a week. She works 1:1 with children for a designated period of time dependent on the needs of the child, offering them a safe space for children to engage in self-led exploration through play.

Counsellor: We have a counsellor, who works in school one day a week. She works flexibly so that we can best meet the needs of our children. This includes working directly with children and liaising with parents.

Educational Psychologist: We buy in a considerable amount of specialist Educational Psychologist (EP) time. This is used in a range of ways to support children’s behaviour, learning and wellbeing.

Referrals to outside agencies: Where a child or family have needs which cannot be met by the above services, we work to find agencies who can offer the support needed. These could include Young Carers, respite services and DCOS

Thank you for reading this newsletter.

Kind regards,

Edith Philipsen

Headteacher- Stepney Park Primary School.